By Erika Mathieu
Sunny South News
Director of Growth and Investment for the Town of Coaldale, Cameron Mills said collecting data around the Crime Severity Index (CSI) in Coaldale is one of the latest metrics or benchmarks used in the Town’s annual comparative analysis document.
“(It) is the document that we use to try to give people that are interested in the Town, so our taxpayers, businesses, and stakeholders, a more clear understanding of how the Town is performing relative to other communities.”
Mills said when the comparative analysis was first conceived, the document measured the Town’s standing mostly with respect to financial metrics but said it made sense to analyze crime in the report as well.
“Crime was one thing that we sort of heard about often,” and said the CSI was a logical benchmark to include. The CSI uses objective data and ranks the severity of crime reported within a municipality. CSI rankings are not solely reflective of the pervasiveness of all crime, but rather a collection of weighted data which takes into account the severity of crime and weights it accordingly. This means instances of violent crimes have a greater impact on the overall CSI ranking than things such as property crime.
Mills said of Coaldale, “obviously there’s crime, and any time someone’s a victim of crime that can feel like it’s something that’s pervasive,” and said the Town wanted to provide residents and new prospective stakeholders with quantifiable data.
“Given that crime is (an) important issue for people, we wanted to understand how Coaldale’s crime situation compared to other districts and we didn’t really know what the answer was, but what we did find was, in fact, that the crime rate on a comparative basis was very, very low.”
Mills explained the benchmark is important to convey to residents and people considering moving to Coaldale.
“When you look at who’s moving to town and and what spurs our growth, Coaldale is largely attracted to young families, moving to town,” and added, “it is largely going to be people from the region looking for an opportunity to move their family out to Coaldale and they are going to be interested to know that on top of all the other great things about Coaldale, it also has one of the lowest crime rates in Western Canada and really in Canada for communities of our size.”
Mills said although the Town continues to see population growth, “if you look at the kind of growth we are doing, we’re largely focused on sort of growing Coaldale’s workforce and bringing in young families and school age children,” and said this is not anticipated to have a significant upward impact on the CSI.
“In fact I would argue it could potentially have the opposite impact because realistically, the kind of growth we are seeing is not the kind of growth which lends itself to an increasing crime rate.”
The CSI ranking for Coaldale, (52) as represented in the 2022 comparative analysis is the average score over five years. In actuality, the most recent data puts Coaldale at a 44.
More information on the CSI in Coaldale can be accessed by reading the 2022 Coaldale Comparative Analysis at https://www.coaldale.ca/ComparativeAnalysis.